“Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?”– Dean Pitchford
For the first time in many months, I spent more than 5 minutes in a hallway with a friend, whom I met many months ago. I was at another campus of our college for an administrative meeting and on a hunch, decided to make a short voyage down to his classroom/studio; I hoped that he might be in. Sometimes, for me, acting on a hunch is when I find surprising results. This was no exception. The funny thing is that I could smell his distinct cologne (very nice) in the elevator; what a treat!
Almost a year ago, before I had met this stunning person, I spoke with him more than two hours by phone. We had what I thought was an amazing connection, though at the time, I was somewhat at a loss to explain it other than my usual empathic vibe at work. He’s smart, irreverent, funny, likewise empathic and seemed to be someone I thought would be just kick-ass to hang with on occasion, a cool kindred spirit of academic life; a few folks like that out there for me.
As I adore people of ideas and sensitivity; my friend goes far beyond just ideas to the point of innovation, empathy and extreme creativity. He sees the world as no other can see but more important, he’s a master communicator on a very high level, something that I can’t describe as it somewhat takes a toll on him but makes him a gifted actor, director and professor. So much behind his spirited blue eyes and anything but serene countenance; probably infinite insight into every person he encounters. Another person such a master of his craft yet sitting next to me sharing shit.
After our first communications, I didn’t hear much, if anything from this man who became something of an enigma. I largely felt that this was something of a failing on my part. I am very intimidating for many people. My style in medicine/surgery often forces me to get to a point quickly or seem that I am impatient, arrogant or just plan obnoxious. As I learned a bit about his story, I knew that it wasn’t anything on my part but his dealing with a multitude of issues in his life.
What I learned from our last interaction is that he is just as I surmised after that first phone call but far more gifted, smart, funny and infinitely worth taking time get to know. Things aligned for both of us to chat/dish a bit as he waited for an actor he was coaching; I could drop in on a last patient before heading home to my Sam Adams for the evening as I had finishing touches on a lecture I was preparing to deliver the next day.
Only one other person in my life pulls and pushes as much energy as this man. I was exhausted but exhilarated after spending even a few minutes with him. Reassuring for me, I was not wrong about him so many months ago but we have much to learn from each other. Unlike my other gifted friend, he doesn’t overshadow or scare me but gently connects. How am I so fortunate to even look at this wonder of a human being let alone spend time with him? A prayer of thanks and assurance for an amazing afternoon on a hunch. A truly heroic soul; so much to discover and celebrate.